Grand Pursuit – Book Review

Grand Pursuit By Sylvia Nasar


Book Description

In a sweeping narrative, the author of the mega bestseller A Gorgeous Mind takes us on a trip with modern history with the men and ladies who altered the lives of each individual in the world. It’s the epic tale of the manufacturing of modern-day economics, and of how economics rescued humanity from squalor and deprivation by putting its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.

Nasar’s account starts with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and releasing the condition of the bad majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering location on the planet. This was a new pursuit. She explains the commonly brave efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshall, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and the American Irving Fisher to put those insights into action– with advanced effects for the globe.

From the wonderful John Maynard Keynes to Schumpeter, Hayek, Keynes’s disciple Joan Robinson, the influential American financial experts Paul Samuelson and Milton Freedman, and India’s Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, she shows how the insights of these activist thinkers changed the globe– from one city, London, to the developed nations in Europe and America, and now to the whole planet. In Nasar’s remarkable narrative of these discoverers we witness men and women responding to personal crises, war of the nations, transformations, economic upheavals, and each other’s concepts to reverse Malthus and transform the depressing science into a triumph over mankind’s hitherto olden fate of misery and passing. This concept, inconceivable less than 200 years back, is a story of experimentation, however ultimately transcendent, as it is rendered below in a sensational and relocating narrative.


In the Grand Pursuit, Sylvia Nasar, the widely acclaimed author of A Lovely Mind, composes a sweeping history of the development of modern economics through the lens of the discipline’s most popular scholars and theorists. It is ambitious in scope, based on some very solid research and frequently a compelling read. But at the same time it is extremely broad and, eventually, does not yield numerous brand-new understandings into its subject matter.

The author says, rightly, that the concept that human success could be produced and handled is a fairly brand-new one. Before the mid-nineteenth century most assumed that the huge bulk of humankind was predestined to reside in poverty and squalor and that there was not much that could be done about this. However throughout this period, a team of academics consisting of Marx, Engels, and Schumpeter emerged and contended that the lives of human beings could be enhanced with the correct management of the economy. Nasar retells exactly how challenging financial circumstances have been at specific points in globe history and looks at the efforts of leading economists to add to prosperity during their respective periods. In Nasar’s broad survey we come across many of the best-known economists of the past 150 years and find out about their individual lives, their contributions to the discipline, and exactly how they tried to affect policy. Throughout her masterfully built story, Nasar demonstrates an amazing grasp of the significant concepts of virtually every major economist that readers could think of. She describes the value of John Maynard Keynes, Beatrice Potter Webb (the innovator of the concept of the welfare state), Milton Friedman and Amartya Sen amongst others both to the discipline of economics and to policy making. In this sense, the book is probably the most extensive history of its kind.

However the fantastic breadth of the work can also at times be a weakness. Typically, Nasar can only handle to present a crucial financial expert before she moves on to the next thinker. In addition, the author rarely offers a new interpretation or critique of the many financial experts that she presents. The reasonably limited number of pages that she can commit to each of the academics that she talks about more or less precludes this kind of detailed analysis that those with a more major interest in the topic will yearn for.

For me, the most considerable frustration in this book is it’s misleading title. It is not actually a history of economic wizard. We do not find out significantly about exactly what made the many economic experts that Nasar introduces us to geniuses. She does not actually even attempt to demonstrate how their minds worked, how they created their concepts, and exactly what made their reasoning one-of-a-kind. She focuses much more greatly on how these academics connected and how they tried to shape exactly what the various governments were doing. In this sense, the book is much more traditional than Nasar’s convincing bio of John Nash, to which The Grand Pursuit will unavoidably be compared.

However, if you want a broad retelling of the history of contemporary economics, there are far even worse places to begin than Nasar’s brand-new book. It does provide a helpful, legible summary of the occupations and thinking of the most essential economic experts of the nineteenth and twentieth century even if it does not tell us very much that is interesting or revelatory about them.